RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University women's and men's cross-country teams will compete in the 2017 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championship meet on Sunday, October 22. The event will be hosted by the Goldey-Beacom College at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Del. The men's 8,000-meter race is slated for 9:30 a.m., with the women's 5,000-meter competition scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
The Felician men will be looking to improve upon last year's eighth-place finish, while the Golden Falcon women hope to exceed their 11th-place result in 2016. The men's team has won nine CACC championships, while the women's squad seeks its first. Both teams are led by third-year head coach Rob DeCarlo Jr.
The top 15 individual finishers in each race will be named All-CACC. The navigation address for White Clay Creek State Park is 880 New London Road, Newark, Del. 19711. There is an $8 parking charge per car for non-Delaware residents. The CACC also plans to offer free live streaming video in and around the finish line at http://tinyurl.com/y9ddo9sf.
"Our men will look to move toward the top half of the conference this year, with our eyes set on the future," DeCarlo said. "Veteran leadership and youthful exuberance should have us leaving Sunday's race ready for the next step. The women look for season-best performances. The course and big-race experience are key factors here on both sides."
The Felician men have been led by freshmen Joel Garcia (Passaic, N.J./Passaic) and Adam Mahabub (Bloomfield, N.J./Bloomfield). Garcia has been the Golden Falcon frontrunner on five occasions and was the CACC Rookie of the Week on October 17. Mahabub has emerged as a solid No. 2 and challenger to Garcia for the top spot.
The Golden Falcons will enter the maximum seven runners, including five newcomers. Junior co-captain Andre Francisco (Lyndhurst, N.J./Lyndhurst) has provided a steady combination of performance and leadership, and freshmen Jason Argueta (Fairview, N.J./Cliffside Park) and Danny Driscoll (Audubon, N.J./Audubon) have been regular scorers. First-year sophomore Bryan Acevedo (Hackettstown, N.J./Hackettstown) is much improved, and the experience of senior co-captain Fernando Gomez (Secaucus, N.J./Secaucus) gives him the nod at No. 7.
Wilmington (Del.) is the two-time defending CACC men's champion.
The Felician women enter the championship having graduated their top two runners from a year ago. Sophomore transfer Jane Burgoyne (Glen Rock, N.J./Glen Rock) has claimed the top spot in the team's pack, and co-captains Valentina Gonzalez (Wood-Ridge, N.J./Wood-Ridge), a sophomore, and senior Kelly Murphy (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) are close behind.
The Golden Falcons plan to submit six runners in the event. Freshmen Kayla Hightower (Camden, N.J./Camden) and Vanessa Saiboo (Jersey City, N.J./County Prep) have steadily improved, and junior and first-time cross-country runner JeanMarie Kaminski (Carteret, N.J./Saint Dominic Academy) provides a dose of drive and motivation.
The Jefferson Rams (formerly Philadelphia University) have won the last three CACC women's crowns.
The meet is being held at a course other than Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia for the first time since 2006.
"The White Clay Creek State Park course is tough, terrain-wise," said DeCarlo, who took the Golden Falcon men to the venue for the University of Delaware Invitational on September 16. "There is a decent hill midway that the men tackle several times, while the women will hit it midrace. It is a truer cross-country course than we usually run – roots, ruts, off-angles and twists/turns. Placement – not necessarily times – will be the focal point."